Album Reviews: Love, Lust And Revenge

  • In 2002 The Mugshots were established in New York City, but surprisingly they are based in Italy. A mugshot is a slang term for a police photograph or a portrait taken after a person is arrested. The nicknames of the current band members are Mickey Evil (vocals, keyboards), Erik Stayn (keyboards), Eye-Van (bass), Macfly (guitar) and Gyorg II (drums). Special guest on lead guitar and additional piano is the legendary master of rock Dick Wagner who worked with Alice Cooper , Lou Reed, Kiss, Aerosmith and Peter Gabriel. In recent years the band recorded two full-fledged albums, namely House Of The Weirdos and Weird Theatre and two EPs called Doctor Is Out and In Disguise. The latter was distributed by an independent Italian label and got some enthusiastic reviews around the globe. 

    The EP Love, Lust And Revenge contains five songs all lasting over five minutes. The opening track Nothing At All has a fine piano and drum intro and great singing by Mickey Evil. The influence of Dick Wagner can already be noticed since this piece sounds like a radio-friendly Alice Cooper song. Listen to the two well-played guitar solos in the mid-section and at the end of the song. Next is the ballad Under My Skin which contains enough musical and lyrical variations to keep me focussed. Curse The Moon has the same intro as the Alice Cooper hit Hello Hooray!; the guitar licks of Dick Wagner are present all the time. Free As I Am is more a rock song with a happy feel; this could have been another song from the master of horror rock! The final song Pass The Gun Around is another great track with melodic guitar sounds and witty lyrics about gunslingers and drinking too much vodka. A nice guitar solo by MacFly ends this EP. 

    For me The Mugshots were a big surprise. They know how to write attractive, classical rock songs with fine melodies and intelligent lyrics.
  • I would argue that some of Alice Cooper’s music leaned towards progressive rock. I’d also argue that this outfit are prog rock. Why did I mention Alice Cooper? Because these guys are clearly influenced by Cooper. They even cover a lesser known Cooper song as the closing cut here. You can’t really deny the progressive rock elements at work here, though. The opening tune, in particular is quite proggy. There are other moments where this feels like a cross between Cooper and Fish era Marillion.
    Nothing At All
    Melodic progressive rock leads out here and a fusion-like guitar soars over the top. As the vocals join, they feel a bit psychedelic in nature. This gets pretty intense as it carries forward. It’s quite a cool modern melodic prog piece with plenty of influences from old school progressive rock. The piano solo section is quite a nice touch. As the vocals join from there I’m reminded quite a bit of Fish era Marillion. The piece grows out from there into a harder rocking jam that’s still quite melodic.
    Under My Skin
    Imagine a melding of Marillion with Welcome to My Nightmare era Alice Cooper. It’s likely to sound a lot like this.
    Curse the Moon
    Somehow I can still make out hints of Alice Cooper on this one, too. That said, this rocker is pure progressive rock, but with a lot of killer guitar. It’s got a pretty accessible vocal hook and many layers of guitar. The sound of this band is unique and great. This piece is just one example of that. There is a cool piano driven movement later in the tune, too.
    Free (As I Am)
    They open this with a pretty straightforward hard rocking jam. After a while, though, it shifts towards something like a proggy Who. The later sections include a very accessible vocal hook. They even drop it to just vocals for a time. Somehow I can even make out a little Tom Petty on this thing.
    Pass the Gun Around
    I’ve always liked the original version of this. It always has had a little bit of a prog edge to my ears. This one is pretty true to that version, but the progressive rock vibe is more prominent. There’s an instrumental section that really brings that home, too.